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Clarice Stevens dies, aged 90

Clarice Stevens, one of Oldham RLFC’s longest-serving and most loyal supporters, has died in Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, aged 90.

She had been supporting the club since she was aged 17 and, until late last season, she regularly attended home games, travelling to Oldham on public transport, with all the problems that can throw up on Sundays, from her home in Timperley, near Altrincham, Cheshire.

Describing her death as a “very sad loss for the club”, chairman Chris Hamilton said:

“Clarice supported the club for most of her long life and continued to do so following the death of her husband Jack a few years go.

“For years she travelled on her own on bus,tram and sometimes train from Timperley to venues like Sedgley Park, the Vestacare Stadium and Bower Fold and until well into last season she hardly ever missed a home game.

“She was more than a supporter; she became a really good friend. And it was a pleasure for me to run her home to Timperley after home games when I had finished all the post-match stuff that had to be done.

“She really appreciated that but it was the least I could do after all the astonishing effort she made, in her late 80s, to get to home games and to show her support. That lady had an iron will when it came to supporting Oldham Rugby and no words of mine can truly reflect how much that was appreciated and recognised.

“Even when she became ill and couldn’t get to games any more she always wanted to be kept informed of what was happening; how the team was playing; and everything about the club.”

In mid-February, 2019 the club and many of her close Oldham Rugby friends celebrated her 90th birthday with her at a surprise party, organised by Chris and the club.

It was reported on the website like this:

IT was 1946 . . . Aneurin Bevan announced his Labour Government’s plans for the NHS; Oldham’s Doug Phillips sailed to Australia with the Great Britain party on HMS Indomitable; and a 17-year-old local lass called Clarice watched her first game at Watersheddings and fell in love with rugby league and the Roughyeds.

At a surprise 90th birthday bash at the Vestacare Stadium last month that same local lass, now Clarice Stevens, spoke of her lifetime’s allegiance to Oldham RLFC and the enjoyment she still gets from watching Scott Naylor’s boys in action at Limehurst Village.

Her longevity of loyalty to club and team is remarkable in itself but all the more so when considering that, at 90, she travels on tram and bus from her home in Timperley, Cheshire to support her team in Betfred League 1.

“It’s a ‘weather permitting’ thing these days but I still love shouting for Oldham and I guess I always will,” she said.

<p>
  “I’ve never supported any other club, and I never will. I’ve been an Oldham Roughyed since I was 17 and I’m not going to change now.
</p>

<p>
  “I wish the club all the luck in the world. I get upset when I watch a game on TV; see all those people there; and then I wonder why we don’t get crowds like that when everybody at our club tries so hard and does their best on and off the field.”
</p>

Clarice is eagerly looking forward to Sunday’s big kick-off against Workington at the Vestacare Stadium — the start of her 73rd year as a supporter.
Wow ! Now that’s what you call a fan.

Details of Clarice’s funeral arrangements will be published on the website as soon as they are known.

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Club Cash

AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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